Native Trail has eight rivals to beat if he is to justify his favourite’s tag for the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.
Charlie Appleby’s charge, last year’s European champion two-year-old, is one of two English challengers, with the Andrew Balding-trained Imperial Fighter also confirmed at Thursday morning’s declaration stage.
The home team is headed by the Joseph O'Brien-trained Buckaroo which is set to renew rivalry with Jim Bolger’s Wexford Native, the Sheila Lavery-trained New Energy and Michael O'Callaghan’s Malex having led the trio home in the Group 3 Coolmore Irish EBF Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh two weeks ago.
Aidan O'Brien relies on this week’s supplementary entry Ivy League, with Ger Lyons’ Atomic Jones, Dermot Weld’s Duke De Sessa also lining out for the first Irish classic of the season.
Saturday’s star-studded card also features the Group 2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes with all eyes on the Ado McGuinness-trained A Case Of You, one of nine runners in the six-furlong contest that has attracted British challengers Brad The Chief and previous course winner Glen Shiel, fourth in the race 12 months ago. The Ger Lyons-trained Power Under Me, last year’s winner Gustavus Weston, trained by Joe Murphy and the Jack Davison-trained Mooneista are among other notable contenders.
Aidan O'Brien’s hat-trick seeker Blackbeard and the Ger Lyons-trained Tough Talk are among five runners declared for the Group 3 Gain Marble Hill Stakes while Henry de Bromhead fields both Jason The Militant and Nuits St Georges in the 13-runner Listed Hanlon Concrete Orby Stakes for which Willie Mullins has declared Stratum.
IRISH 2000 GUINEAS CURRENT BETTING: 1/3 Native Trail, 4/1 Buckaroo, 10/1 Wexford Native, 14/1 Ivy League, 33/1 Atomic Jones, Duke De Sessa, Imperial Fighter, Malex, 40/1 New Energy